Harris County Public Information Officer Appointed to FEMA National Advisory Council

Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOSHEM) Public Information Officer Francisco Sanchez has been selected to serve as a member of the FEMA National Advisory Council (NAC) Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Subcommittee to represent state and local emergency managers.

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve and look forward to working diligently on an issue I am deeply committed to, improving how public safety can best deliver the right information to the right people at the right time to save lives,” said Sanchez.

The NAC IPAWS Subcommittee will make recommendations to the NAC on matters related to common alerting and warning protocols, standards, terminology, and operating procedures for an integrated public alert and warning system.

The IPAWS subcommittee is comprised of federal officials from FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Commerce and the National Council on Disability, and a broad set of other public safety stakeholders and technology innovators.

Sanchez has vast experience in public emergency alerts having served two terms (2013-2017) on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) where he co-chaired a work group tasked with reviewing Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) security practices and making recommendations on how to best encourage the use of emergency alerts by local and state officials.

Sánchez has been with Harris County since 2004, now heading emergency communications in the nation’s third largest county. Sanchez was lead public information officer during the Houston area’s response to both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. He also led the region’s Joint Information Center operations during Hurricane Ike and the highly active 2008 hurricane season.

Most recently, Sanchez was listed by StateScoop as one of Top 11 Public Safety Tech Leaders to Watch. He has been a featured speaker at SXSW, National Hurricane Conference, National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas Homeland Security Conference, Emergency Management Magazine Road Show, the National All-Hazard Incident Management Team Training & Education Conference, Texas State Firemen’s and Fire Marshal’s Conference, Smart Cities (Toronto) and other forums. In 2013, he was profiled as Emergency Management Magazine’s Major Player. In 2015, the University of Houston named Sanchez its Houston Public Official of the Year and also received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.